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Opponents of the Bill, who believe the red tape involved could kill off much of the trade in the county, were heartened by the news and vowed to continue the fight.

On the final day of deliberations last week, it was revealed that the Metropolitan Police are now looking at similar legislation to cover the whole of London.

Even though the Bill will now go forward for its Third Reading, there have been so many amendments that DMG Antiques Fairs, LAPADA and others who have been campaigning vigorously against the Bill estimate that it will be days before they can assess accurately how many concessions they have won.

In addition, the Select Committee is to submit a special report on their findings to the House, although what this will contain has not been divulged.

DMG Antiques Fairs Ltd managing director Mark Carr was pleased with the “substantial number of significant amendments” proposed by the committee and said: “We believe the fact that the chairman’s casting vote was required reflects the strength of the arguments deployed before the committee. That said, a number of provisions remain in the Bill that give us great cause for concern and over the next few days we will be closely examining their implications.”

Malcolm Hord, chief executive of LAPADA, added: “The Bills have got through committee but only just and even then after being heavily amended in favour of the antiques trade. The concerns of dealers were strongly voiced, particularly the damaging possibility of scores of similar but differing local legislation following this precedent.”